DPH official: vaccine rollout aims to avoid waste


FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, California’s state epidemiologist Dr. Erica S. Pan recommended providers stop using lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation by state officials, Moderna, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration, because some people received medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

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BOSTON (SHNS) – A Department of Public Health official gave some insight into the state’s vaccine allocation process during a Jan. 5 call with municipal government leaders.

DPH Assistant Commissioner Jana Ferguson spoke to the Massachusetts Municipal Association ahead of the Jan. 11 start date for vaccination of first responders and said that if an area communicated to the state that it had 1,000 eligible police, fire and emergency medical personnel, that area would not receive 1,000 vaccine doses all at once.

Health officials would also find out how many vaccinations local sites could give in a day and how many days a week they’d be hosting clinics, then take that appointment schedule into account.

“People aren’t getting 1,000 doses right away, perhaps they’re getting 400 doses or 600 doses or something like that, and then there’s a mechanism to request additional doses as those appointments are filled,” Ferguson said.

She said the state does not want to over-order on vaccines so that the supply does not end up being wasted. “We’re just kind of being a little more measured about how quickly these roll out so people don’t get stuck with hundreds of extra doses,” she said.

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